Recipe: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie (and a confession)

I have something very important to own up to here today.

Are you ready for it?

I don’t understand the full-on pumpkin obsession that is happening right now.

I just don’t.

in skillet with handle - edited

As a foodie, a blogger, and a huge fan of fall, I feel a little bad about this.  I mean, anyone who has browsed through a blogroll lately, walked past a bakery or coffee shop, or even taken a trip to the grocery store has surely seen the pumpkin explosion that is taking over the food world.

Pumpkin is a big deal, y’all.  And, I just don’t get it.

It’s fine, I guess.  It’s alright. It’s O.K.   But, honestly, it’s not a flavor that I get excited about.  I think my pumpkin gene never fully developed.  I get excited about other fall flavors, namely apple, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon.  I go nuts for steaming bowls of soup, rich broths, and earthy aromas.  I’m crazy about casseroles, root vegetables, and pots of warm chili.  But, pumpkin?


I could take it or leave it.

cooking - edited

I realize I probably just lost a lot of cred with you all, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I felt it needed to be said.

In that vain, I hope you enjoy this dish.  It is perfect for a chilly autumn evening, eaten in a setting where you feel comfortable and cozy, in the company of those you’re most at home with.  And with nary a pumpkin in sight.

For those who are disappointed with me and think I’m missing out, don’t worry . . . I’ll probably cave in and bake some pumpkin bread soon.


Vegan Shepherd’s Pie bowl - edited

Tweaked just a smidge from the wonderful Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Serves 6-8


  •  2 lbs potatoes (I used red), cubed (peeled or unpeeled – it’s up to you)
  • ½ cup soy milk creamer
  • 1 tblspn Earth Balance (or oil or butter)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups green beans, chopped into ½ inch pieces (I used frozen)
  • 2 cups packed spinach, chopped
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tblspn Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (could sub soy sauce or tamari)
  • 1 tblspn red miso
  • 1 tblspn fresh thyme (or 1 tspn dried)
  • 1 tblspn fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 tspn dried)
  • 1 tspn fresh oregano (or ½ tspn dried)
  • ¼ tspn dried, ground sage
  • 1 1/2 tblspns corn starch
  • 2 tblspns water
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Prepare the potatoes by boiling them in a large pot of salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.  When tender, drain and toss into a large bowl (if using a hand mixer/masher) or the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add soy milk and Earth Balance and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Mix/mash until soft and creamy.  Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, spray a large cast iron skillet or large sauté pan with cooking spray and warm over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook until they are soft and begin to brown.  Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring regularly, about 5 minutes longer.
  3. Next, add the vegetable broth, Bragg’s, miso, kidney beans, green beans, and herbs.  Bring the broth up to a low boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender and cooked through.
  4. Add the spinach to the skillet and mix well.  Let the spinach wilt over the heat for 2-3 minutes.  Finally, mix together the corn starch with the 2 tablespoons water until smooth and stir into the skillet.  Cook for a few minutes longer, until the sauce has thickened up a bit.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove from heat and turn on your broiler to high.  If you used a cast iron skillet, leave the vegetables in the skillet at this point and spoon the mashed potatoes evenly onto the top.  If you used another sauté pan, transfer the vegetables into an oven-safe baking dish and then continue on by spooning the mashed potatoes onto the top.    Place skillet or dish under the broiler for approximately 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

48 comments on “Recipe: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie (and a confession)

  1. Haha – I love the pumpkin obsession!! Still, I understand your perspective. 🙂

  2. tlsylvan says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe, thanks for posting! I got sad when I thought about this being my first vegan fall and missing out on delicious fall recipes. But I’ve found some great ones so far 🙂

  3. I made a veggie shepherd’s pie before that I wasn’t happy with – this one sounds much more flavourful, so I will try it. I love pumpkin, but only because it’s blended with gingerbread spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. By themselves, pumpkin and squash are beyond bland! In fact, yesterday I added blended pumpkin to a mac and cheese recipe – because you CAN’T taste it!

  4. Victoria says:

    THANK YOU. Pumpkin is great and all, but I also don’t get the full blown societal obsession that’s happening right now. I get more excited about pulling out my slow cooker and making some rich, savory meals. Not everything needs to have pumpkin in it!

  5. This looks wonderful and so flavorful! I will definitely try it!

  6. Abby's Kitchen says:

    Comfort food!

  7. Holly Figueroa O'Reilly says:

    Haha…guilty! 🙂 I just hate to let any part of a pumpkin (or any food, I guess) go to waste, so I always find ways to use it up. It doesn’t always have to be the main ingredient, though.

  8. Kathleen says:

    I have to admit I’m on the pumpkin bandwagon… I don’t know what it is that gets all us ladies so excited 🙂 Thanks for this recipe- will be adding to my fall collection for sure… YUM!

  9. Nora says:

    I don’t get pumpkin either. I’ve tried pumpkin beer several times and just don’t understand. I’m not even going to attempt a pumpkin latte. But it does feel trendy to like pumpkin. Another reason to avoid it, ha!

  10. lushly says:

    very funny! I even made pumpkin vodka! 🙂

  11. Hey, you’re not the only one. Pumpkin or blueberry muffins? No contest, right? In fact, I just commented on someone’s blueberry post abt it. Give me blueberries anytime, but pumpkins … er … not anytime. Of course, I’ll probably be cooking with pumpkins/squash sometime this month, only because I grew them (the squash). But don’ worry, it’ll still be 2nd choice to something else. Unless of course I’m in Hogsmeade. Then my beverage of choice would be pumpkin juice. Okay, make that 2nd choice to butterbeer. 🙂

  12. So seasonal and great recipe!

  13. I like pumpkin, but I don’t insanely love pumpkin the way most people seem to this time of year. To be honest, the only pumpkin product I get really excited about is pumpkin beer! And when I do cook with pumpkin, I’m usually making dog treats because my pup definitely falls into the pumpkin-obsessed category!

  14. This looks so delish! Thanks.

  15. YES! I am with you on this! I enjoy the occasional slice of pumpkin bread…but not as much as I would enjoy banana bread or any other kind! It’s just okay. And I’ve never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Why would I when things like caramel, hazelnut, and vanilla exist?

  16. Amy Henry says:

    Thank you!!! It’s like you read my mind. I don’t “get” the pumpkin thing either, although I love their beautiful color, shape, etc. I’m all about the apple, squash, cinnamon, casseroles…bring it on 🙂

  17. Hey, at least you’re honest!! I love all things fall, everything you mentioned – especially apple and cinnamon on everything. I also jump on the pumpkin train but I understand that it’s not for everyone!! You’re totally allowed to have your own taste buds 🙂 I dislike raw tomatoes and mushrooms – there I said it. Phew, I feel better. We should have a weekly confession 😉

  18. Francesca says:

    drum to your own beat, im not on that bandwagon either! Pie looks great 🙂

  19. I totally hear you. 🙂 Pumpkin, not as much, kabocha squash yes. but will confess that winter squashes and canned pumpkin can languish in my pantry over the winter…. and to be fair, I was more excited to see Brussels sprouts again. It is amazing how pumpkin takes over in the fall, though, no?

  20. colossalgarbage says:

    I do feel bad for all the pumpkins that decorate people’s porches and then are just thrown out when they go bad. Kinda sad, eh?

  21. I love pumpkin like crazy! But I totally understand if you don’t. And this recipe looks amazing!!

  22. Joanne says:

    I am definitely a pumpkin fan(atic) but can totally see not being into it because I hated it as a kid! And either way, I’m all about comfort food and this shepherd’s pie is just that!

  23. Looks hearty, filling and lovely and my ideal comfort food! I’m not a huge savory pumpkin fan, but I would love to try it! I would love to have some for the upcoming Thanksgiving!

  24. jen says:

    I’m with you on the pumpkin front. They are good but then there are so many delicious veggies out there that are a lot easier to prepare! 🙂

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